African Cashew Alliance (ACA) Market Information System (MIS) expert Jim Fitzpatrick called on cashew industry stakeholders to be wary of relying on speculation and uninformed information. verified on the cashew market.
Speaking at ACA’s Fortnight Global Market Meetings to review key early cashew season dynamics, he said misinformation issues and cashew market speculation has been a major challenge. facing the industry, especially in Africa.
This, he believed, some people and organizations respond to their parochial interests, to take unfair advantage of competitors and farmers in particular.
He explained that over the years, poor market information has discouraged many potential investors, especially financial institutions such as banks, from investing in the cashew sector.
And this, he said, affects the growth of the cashew industry in Africa, especially the local processing sub-sector, as processors continue to struggle for a reliable source of finance.
Beyond that, he said, misinformation continues to drive down producer prices, which affects farmers’ incomes and affects their livelihoods.
âPeople take advantage of the system to exploit farmers, which affects their income. Poor market information can lead to an early harvest which can affect quality. It can also lead to high export prices. It literally affects almost everything in the industry, âhe said.
According to him, a good market information system will significantly contribute to the growth of the industry, especially in Africa.
âIt is important that stakeholders, especially farmers and processors, rely on verified market information from reputable organizations,â he added.
ACA communications officer Blessing Okam believes that âbad marketing information has led to an era that we can call the era of disinformationâ in the cashew industry.
According to her, this is the result of several factors, including the fact that the cashew market conditions are not fixed, which encourages speculation and misinformation.
âUnlike cocoa, for example, which has a more central and well-established regulatory structure that coordinates all business activities, the cashew sector does not have such a structure. This encourages speculation and misinformation on the part of people and organizations wishing to take unfair advantage of the system to outperform competitors. Countries like Ivory Coast, Tanzania and now Ghana have put structures in place. But these structures are still developing compared to those of the cocoa sector, âshe explained.
While the cashew market information systems are generally poor and lack proper and central coordination, especially in Africa, she believes most people are also unable to organize, understand and do well. use of data when available.
âFor these reasons, ACA has developed several GIS services such as the ACA Cashew Barometer which is an organized data system that provides a lot of information on the cashew market. There is also AfriCashew Bit, AfriCashewSpilt and many other services aimed at better understanding the cashew market, âshe added.
She also called on cashew industry stakeholders, especially in Africa, to be vigilant about misinformation in the market and become intolerant of it.
The African cashew industry has, over the years, become the driving force behind the global production of raw cashew nuts (RCN). In 2020, Africa produced more than 2.1 million tonnes of NCB, or about 57% of global production.
Africa, however, has a long way to go in terms of local cashew processing. Only around 10% of NCB’s production is processed locally, with the vast majority exported to Vietnam and other Asian countries for processing.
Stakeholders believe it is important that African governments begin to consolidate the strengths of the sector by prioritizing and encouraging local transformation.